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Tips for Using SMB Phone Systems to Streamline Telephone Business Communications

Christine O'Kelly
Jun 1, 2008
Email has become a significant factor in the business world; however telephone conversations still have a vital role in business communications and the level of success for many businesses. The standards of etiquette for business telephone processes for major corporations also apply to small companies utilizing small business (SMB) phone systems.

Becoming more professional on the telephone can increase the chance of acquiring a new client as well as keeping current clients. Being professional with people who are providing services to you will help to ensure they provide quality work. This article focuses on tips for increasing professionalism while participating in a telephone business conversation.

Managing the Growing Call Volume of a Growing Business

The telephone can be a constant source of distraction for the small yet thriving business. As the business begins to grow, so too does the call volume. For young companies, one of the first necessary employees is a receptionist to handle the calls. With someone manning the phones that can ensure that no calls slip through the cracks and handle basic questions such as hours and directions, small business owners free up their time to handle the upper level business functions.

However, many young companies either don't have the budget for a receptionist's salary or would rather spend the money some other way. Another solution is to make a one-time investment in one of the feature-rich SMB phone systems available on the market today. These professional SMB phone systems allow customers to push buttons to be directed to the intended caller, and can be programmed with pre-recorded messages that answer basic questions.

Ensuring The Calls Get To The Right People

When a business moves from a one or two person operation, or from a one location to a multi-location operation, getting calls to the right people can become a logistical nightmare. Many of today's small businesses rely on remote employees or remote locations to handle parts of their operations.

Using an SMB phone system, you can transfer calls anywhere in the world without asking the caller to hang up and then dial another number. Even if you're transferring from your California office to your outsourced bookkeeper in Pittsburg, the caller's perception is that you're transferring the call from one part of the office to another.

When working with multiple people in multiple locations, there is always the risk that calls will become lost. If your bookkeeper in Pittsburg isn't home to answer the call, will he or she get the message? One missed call can sometimes make or break a business relationship.

With many of the SMB phone systems available today, you can set various numbers to call if the first number is unanswered. For example, if your bookkeeper is unavailable to answer the office phone, the call will be directed to her cell phone. If that goes unanswered, the call can either be sent to voice mail or be routed to another person to take the call.

Some of today's SMB phone systems have features that will turn the recorded voicemail message left by your customer into an audio file and send it straight to their email. With the advanced technology powering SMB phone systems, there are numerous ways to ensure that a call doesn't fall through the cracks.

Recording Critical Information

There are few situations more embarrassing than asking a client or a prospect to repeat information. It is essential to take notes during the conversation to ensure that you are getting all of the information you need to give a quote, complete a job, or fill an order.

However, putting too much focus on note taking can cause you to seem 'distant' from the conversation. If you're more focused on taking notes than on engaging in the conversation, you may miss critical points or miss opportunities to ask important questions.

One way to avoid this uncomfortable situation is to record the call. Some SMB phone systems have features that allow you to record the phone call and automatically save it to a .wav or .mp3 file that you can review later. Whenever you choose to record a call, be sure to let the other person knows that you are recording and why you are creating the recording.

Whether you're running a busy dental office or operating a service business from home with remote employees, you can have the professional feel of a large corporate office by implementing a professional SMB phone system. These feature-rich SMB phone systems can not only streamline your business processes, but also significantly increase the prestige and professionalism of your business in the mind of your client.
About the Author
Christine O'Kelly is an Author for Best Deal Allworx, a leading provider of Allworx small business phone systems. Allworx offers SMB phone systems solutions designed specifically for small to mid-sized businesses.
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